Last week, a store manager at Cold Stone Creamery located in Turlock, California, decided to fire a woman who had been with the company for several months over a comment the employee had posted on Facebook.
The manager said that the employee's Facebook comment had prompted several customers to call the store and to complain. According to the Los Angeles Times, the employee had posted a comment on Facebook about the election on Nov. 6.
The former employee, a 22-year-old woman, claims that she was just stating her opinion about President Barack Obama being reelected and that her comment was not "that big of a deal." However, it was a big enough deal for her employer to want to fire her and for the Secret Service to start investigating her.
After it was announced that President Obama was reelected last week, the Cold Stone Creamery employee posted a comment on Facebook and called President Obama an offensive name. The employee also commented about the possibility of an assassination. The Secret Service is looking into the comment in order to determine whether the woman was making a threat, which is a serious crime in California.
Several people reported the incident to the woman's employer after her post when viral. Cold Stone Creamery agreed that the woman's comments were "unacceptable" and the woman was fired.
The woman's Facebook comment is certainly disrespectful, but it might not have been appropriate for Cold Stone Creamery to fire her over the comment. When employees use social media, they may still be protected under certain laws depending on how employers use employees' comments, pictures and other postings against them in the workplace.
In some situations, employees may be able to file a wrongful termination claim in order to get their jobs back or to recover lost pay after being fired for something an employer saw on their Facebook account or other social media account.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Obama Facebook threat not a 'big deal,' woman says," Wesley Lowery, Nov. 12, 2012
- Our firm provides counsel to those who have had their rights violated by co-workers or employers. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Long Beach wrongful termination lawyers page.